Here at Nintendo Life we're always keeping an eye on the sort of things people want to know about Nintendo and the Switch, and it's surprising how many eager internet searchers want information on relatively simple features that, perhaps, aren't obvious or well explained by Nintendo itself. So we're starting a new range of video guides called Switch Basics, but for those of you that prefer reading you can see the details below as well - win-win, we'd say...
Today we're looking at how to delete games from your Switch console and free up space for new ones. It's simple and anyone of any skill level can do it. There are actually two options available to you in order to get the old, possibly rarely played games off your console, and we'll be going through both of them. Neither of these options will delete your save data, so don't worry about losing all your progress in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
First of all you can archive a game. This will remove all the data of the game from your system, but keep the icon on your home menu so that you can easily redownload it again in the future. Or maybe just to have loads and loads of game icons to show off a bit.
To do this you simply need to highlight the game you wish to remove and press the plus or minus button on your controller. A menu will pop up and you'll need to navigate down to Data Management on the left hand side. From here you need to navigate right and highlight the Archive Software option. Press the A button and you'll be presented with a prompt asking you to confirm the action. Press the A button again and the game will be removed, but as stated earlier, your save data will not be affected and the game's icon will remain on your Home Menu. It's just that if you try and launch the game it'll tell you to redownload it first.
If you don't want to have the game icon cluttering up your Home Menu though you can instead do a more old-fashioned deletion.
Just as before, highlight the game icon on your Home Menu and press the plus or minus button. From this menu you then need to navigate down to Data Management, then navigate to the right and down to highlight the Delete Software option. Press A to select it and then A again to confirm that you wish to delete the game. This will remove the icon from your Home Menu, but the game can still be redownloaded for free from the eShop.
Once again I'd like to reiterate that neither of these processes will delete your save data. You don't have to toss up whether or not it's worth freeing up space for a new game at the cost of your progress, it's all stored safely and separately. This is also true for physical game cards, so if you lose or sell a physical version of a game and then repurchase it later, you will still have your save data.
Thanks for reading and / or watching this first Switch Basics video, we'll have more to come!
This is pretty basic stuff. Not sure it needs a tutorial.
YES, I DO need everything!!! Everything! Hence, the 512GB Micro SD card.
Just buy physical games! Its just better to actually own things especially when they cost £50-60. Plus when you're old you can sell your large collection for a chunk of change and buy a hover car or a robowaifu or whatever they have in the 2050s.
How do I turn my switch off?
Why you gotta pick on poor Penguin Wars?
"You don't need EVERYTHING installed, right?"
As discussed earlier, I particularly tend to cling to the biggest ones - because they're more of a hassle to swap around and redownload even with unlimited data plans at play. And considering how many of them are content-packed roamers/grinders I tend to take my sweet time in... yeah. Stuff below 4 Gb is easier to decide on shelving, which is why I've committed this heresy even upon most revered backlog items like Star Ocean and Disgaea. Mea maxima culpa...
As for variations, I always "archive" unless it's a demo (but I haven't used those in forever anyway) or a sweet but misleading game icon that shows up if you merely pick up a free DLC piece. Otherwise, relying on the unsortable redownload list from the native storefront to idly browse the full collection (or flex it to someone still under the impression that "Switch has no games"™) is something I've frankly had up to here on Vita.
@Burning_Spear what if I told you it's possible to run out of space on that 512 Gb card of yours?😎😅
@Snatcher hold the power button until the related menu shows up.
The heck with this. I have over 250 games on my system and just upgraded to a 400 GB card. Still can't have all of them installed, but now have the majority as I am usually working on 6 or 7 games at a time.
@Brummieendo90 Honestly this.
The only I could need though is if the OS' UI could be updated to allow "hiding" the game icons for physical games that aren't currently slotted into the console.
I kind of like it shows my collection, but ultimately it would make it much easier to find my digital games when I want to play them. After all, my physical games ARE easy to find since I own the actual boxes for them. I don't need the UI to display them at all them.
Honestly I think the core difference between the Switch and WiiU is just there. Physical games on WiiU were displayed in the UI only if they were in the actual disk slot. Whereas on Switch they'll always be displayed on the UI.... unless you actively delete them.
Starting to have a relatively sizeable physical collection, I've grown to delete (physical-owned) games from my Switch just to make it easier to browse the UI for what few digital games I have installed at a time.
k @Brummieendo90 Plus if you go to places like walmart they will cut the price about ten bucks!
@nhSnork same here dude, its been months since I have played risk of rain or crash 4, but I haven't finished what I'm doing on those games, and its pretty hard for me to delete something that i'm not just done with.
Like I had A hat in time, I have since deleted it bc I have done everything I want/can do.
Yes I do need everything installed and I will not hear otherwise!
Even with my 1TB microSD card I archive. Get a bit worried about how the Switch will run.
Guess I should throw my SD card out then, I mean I don't need everything right? In fact what the point of a SD card if I don't need everything, I will just take my 30GB I get with the switch itself, so I can only have up to 3 games downloaded at a time, And every time I want to play something else maybe I should just delete the next game instead of using the SD bc Idk I don't need all of it.
Like come on people what do you think the point of a SD card is for people? BC if people didn't need near if not everything, They would just delete every game that takes up 10GB. Rant over.
@Burning_Spear Same here! I was able to snag a 1TB card for my games and I /still/ can't fit everything on it.
5TB card WHEN?!
@LEGEND_MARIOID My 1TB card is almost maxed out, but I never noticed a significant performance issue. I mean, don't go installing everything at once, but gameplay never suffered on my end at least.
I probably wouldn’t archive. At least not for long. If it has to be archived then I need a bigger card ASAP. There’s going to come a point way down the line where the servers go down and what you have downloaded is all you’re gonna have from there on out. I try to keep big downloads as retail only and small downloads as downloads. Unless the price is super cheaper digital.
I'm really wanting to have everything installed now.
I want folders so bad…
@MasterGraveheart Oh I agree that it most likely wouldn't affect performance. It's just me being paranoid. Ha.
I’m not going to buy something just to delete it later. I didn’t even know this was a thing until fairly recently. Also, my internet is too slow to justify deleting something just to wait for it to reinstall down the line.
I do recall there was a option to delete even saved data? Or was that only through the actual game option itself?
@Rhum17 You can always redownload a eShop if they still are there-this is the reason for Physical cart itself. But the deletion unless done from the Game option will remove the saved data as well. But some do it because they need space as some sd cards aren't big enough to hold all that game DLC/updates.
I believe reading 10% wiggle room space was the magic number for files to decompress if necessary.
So 900 GB used storage should b fine on that card and leaving 3GB on Switch internal is ok too
I used to have a 128 GB sd card and would just archive the games I didn't intend on playing again after beating them but man...it got to a point where I just struggled so much on deciding what to archive lol. I upgraded to a 400 GB card and so far I haven't had trouble with archiving things but man, if I do run into that again I'm just gonna start buying more physical copies
I have a 512gb card but I could fill at least 800gb. I can't justify buying a 1tb card, especially when it would be 80% filled to start with. It wouldn't be an issue if you could just plug an external hard drive into the dock and swap games between it and the console. Seems like a simple solution for what is a pretty big and expensive problem for those who download a lot of games.
@AG_Awesome Yep same here. All they need to add is an extra option in the filters, so it can be ignored by those who don't want them. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, just basic folders you can drop games into and name.
Maybe not now, but by the end of the Switch's life you can justify that 1 TB
Alternatively, a backwards compatible Switch 2 may make getting that size more sense
I have a 512 GB card and I think it will be enough as I buy 1st party and 9GB+ games all physical.
@Brummieendo90 I agree with this, but I've noticed that even physical games have some weird need to download extra stuff these days. Whether you want it to or not. :/
It really sucks that Nintendo doesn't allow us to use external storage like flash USB or HDD to backup our Switch games. I got a 2tb hard drive and it would had easily store all my games for later usage with ease, instead I had to keep buying another 400gb microSD card if I want another batch of my game library to be store for later play.
Do people really still need a walkthrough on this? 😱
@Sourcecode Believe me, I did haha. From someone who hadn't had a console since the NDS, at first, I was really lost on how to delete things lmao.
“You don't need EVERYTHING installed, right?“
Liza Minelli… LIES!
I need everything!!
But honestly, if I have all this money for games, I can at least invest in a decent micro SD card. I also delete games I know I’m done with, and buy first party and personally highly anticipated games physical.
@smithyo Hence why it's called Switch basics.
I have a 500GB card on my OG switch with about 192GB left in remaining space. Are you guys going to do a tutorial on how to transfer from the old switch to the Oled? I just don’t want to lose my splatoon 2 save data or Pokémon save data :/ I might upgrade to a 1TB card for the new switch 🤷🏽♂️ We’ll see
But they never told us how to highlight the option you want to archive
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